Friday, 13 July 2012

Oh! The Possibilities!

So, I know what I need to do to each image in order to refine them and make them work, it's down to me to get them done! The most recent tutorial was used to discuss production and what the images could become if working towards a final show once the illustrations are complete. I was not expecting to come out from it with a potential exhibition idea with marketable elements and a potential new business!! Exciting stuff!!

The idea of turning them into a large scale interactive sculpture piece is a really exciting prospect, especially considering some of the great parks and woods in the area, (Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Tatton Park to name but two) but I would also like to create something that is just as exciting but also marketable as a children's book. Not just any children's book, but an amazing interactive children's book that I can enter into the Bologna Children's Book Fair at the beginning of October.

There are so many possibilities to consider! The size and scale of the sculpture, will it be indoors or outdoors or both? How are my audience going to interact with the reveal of the image when it is a larger scale? How will the large scale event relate to the marketable book? How will I market the book? Will anything accompany the book? Where will the large scale piece be exhibited? Are there any future possibilities for exhibiting the sculpture elsewhere? We discussed it all! AND more excitingly came up with some very promising ideas/ answers which shall be revealed later in the day.

We discussed existing creatives, such as Donna Wilson, with the idea of creating an indoor environment for the audience to be involved in. I could create my own woods for them to walk through as they follow the story or turn them into a game experience by giving them things to throw at the illustrations to make the reveal fall. Keeping the woods theme to link it all together.

Some of the ideas could be perfect for approaching schools, organisations or activity centres such as Eureka in Halifax with the idea of touring the illustration pieces and opening them to a wider audience. In order to do this I need to start building a network of contacts to approach with my proposal.

But enough talking, in order for any of the ideas that we discussed to be viable I need to focus all my attention on getting the images right and then getting the quality right. So I shall leave you with some Donna Wilson wonders and go and get drawing!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Round and round we go

The slightly curvier world of Little Red Cap than before...
Little Red Cap
Wall of In working progress!

I still have lots of work to do on these illustrations but the more I work on them, the more confident I am getting. I think I may have gone slightly too far down the softer line route as the wolf has become less scary and in some of the reveals isn't immediately recognizable as the wolf silhouette. The trees in the woods have become a bit regimented so I want to rework them until they fit right. I'm really happy with how Little Red Cap has developed, she has had some life injected into her by adding more curves to her and giving her a sense of motion.

Now that each of the six images and their six reveals have been decided, I want to focus my attention on getting them perfect! I already feel that I have learnt an incredible amount and I want to make sure I continue to take everything in now in order to be able to continue once the final project has concluded and I take my illustrations into the scary real world.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Hello, hello! Off I go, to see my grandma, don't you know

I've just had another really good tutorial and I need to get some things out of my head and onto paper before a) I forget them and b) so I can process the information a bit better. Apologies in advance if I start to waffle slightly. I'm really enjoying the tutorial process for the first time in a long time. It's fantastic having invaluable input from someone who has worked in the illustration industry. I no longer fear Friday afternoons, in fact, I quite look forward to them!

So...from the last stage I was given the task of expanding the story to 12 illustration circles and a further 6 of text. This has been a really challenging process. I found that because I'd condensed the story telling into as few circle as possible, when I tried to put more info back in it complicated things. I sat for ages trying to figure out what could be added and which parts of the story were required but to be honest it made my brain hurt! I then had to try and incorporate a fold back reveal and getting it all in the right order considering all these factors. Until my tutorial today I didn't quite realise how much there was. It's too much. Due to the fact that the circles, in theory, have 2 illustrations in one (the flat and then the folded) it has ended up with there being 24 circles not 12!

In trying to make them into ecological illustrations in and working within limited boundaries it has made it a challenge to add in more information. You would think it would be the other way around, easier to add more not to take the information to the minimum.

I've also found that my illustrations are getting busier, rather than keeping their simplicity in appearance they are becoming crowded. Again, this defeats the object of trying to keep them as simple as possible in appearance but hold enough information to tell the story. Phew!

I need to re-assess how many circles to work with, I need to work on simplifying the images without losing the content and I need to try and add some life into them. At the moment they are pictures but they are quite flat and lifeless so I want to readdress how the picture works and how the characters work with each other. At the moment all my human characters look like they belong together but the wolf is still proving to be a tricksy character! The use of circles needs to be reintroduced or at least more rounded edges so that they flow better as interactive visuals and with each other.

A great person to consider here is Dick Bruna. He works with ridiculously simple shapes and creates amazing characters and illustrations that are full of life. I don't want to swoon too much so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

The pictures are soft and friendly, there are no sharp corners, they are all rounded off. Even the house which would be made of brick has softer edges that are more in keeping with his style.The characters leap of the page and all engage with you because they face forwards and make eye contact, it draws you in somehow.

So...after much discussion and doodling, I'm going to rethink my illustrations by reintroducing circles and rounded edges into them. I need to make them flow much better and try to get my audience to engage with each image.

Boundary One: No sharp corners!

Because each circle tells at least 2 scenes of the story I am going to go back to just 6 as this will make images in total. Even though I am concentrating on getting the illustrations right I still need to keep in mind how the fold will effect the overall image and I'd like to get the folded information smoother within the image too. I can do this by making more use of the few lines I will draw. I'd like to try using negative space to explore this in more detail too, hiding information in the first circle that once folded will change into something else.

Noma Bar is probably the best person to illustrate how this could work within my own illustrations. He manages to tessellate two pictures to create several images in one. Quite handily the first one I found was a Little Red Riding Hood one. Boundary Two: Each circle must contain more than one image, this will probably happen when the image is folded.
Right I've got my work cut out for me (pardon the pun) so I'll be signing off and getting on with it! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


I've been working on my wolf character today so thought I'd share a few nice examples of wolves in illustrations and books. I'm not quite there with mine but he's not far off. I'll add him to the pack when he is complete.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Laser Cut

How exciting! I only sent the artwork to make sure it was in the right format and the lovely laser cut men at uni did me a test cut. It smells deliciously like bonfires. Can't wait to try printing it!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang

By chance I discovered this great book in the library which discusses how pictures work and coincidentally it focuses on Little Red Riding Hood. I immediately booked it out and read it from cover to cover. It all made a lot of sense to me and after I had read it I went back and re-evaluated the images that I had been working on for my own Little Red Cap tale.  Having read it, I was able to look at how the shapes I was working with and how they were placed within my circle shape fit together to form a complete picture. Once again I felt something in my head 'click' in order to acheive a better illustration.

"We see shapes in context, and our reactions to them depend in large part on that context. If this were an illustration for a story about the ocean, we could variously read the red triangle as the sail of a sailboat, a shark's fin, a volcanic island rising from the sea, a "red nun" buoy, or the bow of a sinking ship. We feel very differently about the triangle if we see it as a sailboat than we do if we see it as a shark's fin." Molly Bang
Molly Bang chose to represent her Little Red Riding Hood character as this little red triangle. Her rationale for doing such was from the way she felt about the shape and it's colour. The shape and colour, obviously relates to her clothes but Molly placed characteristics on the little red triangle that she thought related to the characteristics that Little Red Riding Hood would also have. For example, the shape suggests an person who is alert, warm, strong, stable, balanced, vital, and perhaps some sense of danger.

Blanca Gomez

Some beautiful prints by Madrid based illustrator, Blanca Gomez